Litigation Lawyers in Mountain Grove
The civil litigation system in Mountain Grove, Missouri is designed to provide compensation for individuals who are injured because of the unlawful conduct of others. It is not much concerned with punishing or deterring wrongdoers.
There is an exception to this general rule, however: in some cases, a court in Mountain Grove, Missouri will award damages designed to punish the wrongdoer, and deter others from future wrongdoing. This practice is known as "punitive damages."
In Mountain Grove, Missouri, punitive damages are not awarded in many cases. This is because the civil litigation system strongly disfavors giving money to plaintiffs in amounts disproportionate to the injuries they have suffered. However, in some cases, the conduct of the defendant is so reprehensible, that simply punishing the defendant is a worthy goal, and this interest outweighs the preference against giving civil plaintiffs financial windfalls.
Conduct that can give rise to punitive damages in Mountain Grove, Missouri
Personal injury litigation doesn't usually carry with it the possibility of punitive damages in Mountain Grove, Missouri, because mostly personal injury cases stem from harm that was caused accidentally, not deliberately. Accidental harm is not enough to warrant an award of punitive damages in Mountain Grove, Missouri.
Punitive damages in Mountain Grove, Missouri are not granted in many cases. They are only awarded when the defendant's conduct was so deplorable and deliberate (but not necessarily criminal) that punishment is warranted. Fraud, battery, conversion (theft) and other intentional, insidious acts are usually required before punitive damages in Mountain Grove, Missouri will be considered. Furthermore, in deciding how much to award in punitive damages, a court will consider 2 main factors: the insidious nature of the defendant's conduct, and the actual harm that the plaintiff suffered as a result.
However, in Mountain Grove, Missouri, the law places limits on punitive damages. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled several times that punitive damages cannot be grossly disproportionate to the evil nature of the conduct, and the injuries that the defendant suffered. If they are disproportionate, punitive damages might be considered a deprivation of the defendant's right to due process of law.
Punitive damages in Mountain Grove, Missouri usually cannot exceed 10 times the amount of actual damages suffered by the plaintiff. However, this is just a guideline, and not a strict rule. Courts in Missouri have found larger punitive damage awards to be perfectly valid, and smaller ones to be invalid. This will be highly dependent on the facts of each case.
How Can a Mountain Grove, Missouri Attorney Help?
In Mountain Grove, Missouri, there are an essentially unlimited number of situtations in which punitive damages can be awarded.
If you have been injured in Mountain Grove, Missouri and you think punitive damages might be justified, a large amount of money might be at stake. For that reason, you should not hesitate to consult a civil litigation attorney in Mountain Grove, Missouri.